Ag Policy Blog
Chris Clayton DTN Ag Policy Editor

Monday 05/05/14

More Young Farmers Entering the Profession

From DTN's Washington Insider:

For years, there has been a public worry about the advancing age of U.S. farmers, with the prototypical agricultural producer seen by many as someone in his 60s or 70s.

Last Friday, USDA issued the results of its twice-a-decade Census of Agriculture that show that things may be turning around. According to the department's summary, more than 20% of U.S. farmers have operated their farms for fewer than 10 years and the number of young, beginning principal farm operators is up 11.3% since the last Census of Agriculture in 2007.

The disparity in farm size and income remains, however. There were 2,109,303 U.S. farms in 2012, of which 813,183 (38.6%) comprised 49 or fewer acres, but the average farm size was 434 acres. And 1,193,977 farms (56.6%) had annual gross (not net) sales of farm products of less than $10,000.

On the income side, there were 8,565 farms that had annual sales of agricultural products plus government payments of $5 million or more. Their total income was $125.6 billion, an average of $14.7 million. At the other end of the spectrum, there were 896,699 farms that had annual sales of agricultural products plus government payments of less than $5,000. Their total income was $1.3 billion, an average of $1,500.

The USDA data are always much anticipated and will be chewed over by economists, agribusinesses and policymakers for the foreseeable future.

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Posted at 6:47AM CDT 05/05/14 by Chris Clayton
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